Obituary of Patricia E. Truesdale
Patricia (Ellsworth) Truesdale LMSW, MS Ed. of Lewiston, NY lost her seven year battle with Ovarian Cancer after a brief bout of pneumonia on July 29, 2019. She passed away peacefully at Niagara Hospice House in Lockport, NY surrounded by those she loved most dearly.
She was born on October 5, 1952 in Niagara Falls, NY the second daughter of Dorothy (Evans) and the late Dale “Harry” Ellsworth. The family later moved to Youngstown, NY where the children could grow and flourish in the country. They enjoyed camping trips to the Adirondacks, visits to Long Point, Ont. and more together. As a child and young woman she participated in the Girl Scouts. She sought to serve others even then, endeavoring to make a difference in her community and beyond. She earned the Gold Award, the highest honor standing for excellence and leadership for girls everywhere. These standards of excellence became the high standard she continued to set for herself throughout life. She fondly remembered her leaders and canoe trips through the Algonquin in Canada. She also served as a leader for some time in her early adult life. Patricia later passed this love of nature and high personal standards on to her own family.
She graduated from Lewiston-Porter High school in 1970. Always endeavoring to learn more and add to her skills, she continued her education at Niagara County Community College. She then went on to receive her Bachelors of Social Work from Buffalo State College. After some time in the field, to better serve the many people she worked and advocated for, she recognized the need to continue her education. Patricia completed her Masters of Social Work at the University of Buffalo in 2002, and went on to receive her license.
Patricia’s love and dedication to serving the youngest of our society propelled her to enhance her inherent abilities. Recognizing the need for more services for children, she received a second Master’s degree in 2016 from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as an Education Specialist in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Play Therapy. At the time of her death in 2019 she had nearly completed her PhD in Infant and Early Child Development at Fielding Graduate University with a focus on Infant Mental Health and Attachment.
Patricia’s strong faith and compassion called her to work with those most vulnerable in Niagara and Erie Counties. She worked at both Opportunities Unlimited (ARC) and Empower (Niagara UCP) early in her career in day treatment, residential, and supported workshop environments. She moved on to follow her true passion putting her social work degrees to use. Those positions close to her heart were Global Village Therapeutic Foster Care; Jewish Family Services; Heads Up Traumatic Brain Injury support group; and Madonna House among others. She began her focus on early interventions for children and families as a mental health coordinator for more than 2,000 children along with their parents and teachers at Community Action Organization of Erie County Head Start.
Her dream was to help create systemic change and implement early interventions; to help parents and children form proper attachments and reduce the incidences of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) in their lives. She was able to do this at her final position starting in 2016 alongside her work family at Main Pediatrics in Buffalo, NY as the Healthy Steps Specialists. This grant from the NYS Office of Mental Health created the Healthy Steps program for 19 primary medical care practices serving infants and toddlers from birth to age five across New York State. This intervention represents an approach to primary health care that offers families enhanced well-child visits emphasizing the promotion of children's development and parental support/services.
When asked how she would ever be able to accomplish such a considerable task as systemic change, she cited the Starfish story – “I made a difference to that one.” Patricia believed her example and advocacy would bring many others together to make a difference in a similar manner, which in turn would make a larger impact. These ripple effects would be felt through a family, a practice, and throughout Western New York.
Patricia often found herself assisting people in so many other ways. She became a lactation consultant so that mothers would not have to be referred out to other providers. She also volunteered for the Baby Café program in Buffalo to help new moms. Patricia participated in many professional groups including ECCS-CoIIN the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems, Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network and PSP - Pediatrics Supporting Parents learning sessions. Throughout the years, she would often mentor and supervise social work students from the University of Buffalo. While she was in the office, or out in the community, she helped coordinate needed services or made referrals. She often was able to refer parents in need to Harvest House Baby and Children’s ministry for supplies and clothing. Her door was always open to anyone needing a quiet space, a chat, or extra help.
Patricia was able to weave together the knowledge, experience, and compassion she had gathered along her journey into an amazing tapestry of service. She was courageous and fearless, helping those in dangerous family situations or going through other painful experiences. She encouraged others to learn more as our understanding deepened and evolved. It is no doubt those she touched will carry on her work in big and small ways.
Family was a genuine source of joy and essential part of Patricia’s life. Her daughters Terra Cutlip (Lee Krawczyk) and Samantha Cutlip (Christopher Olivera) as well as her granddaughters Willow Cutlip, Angelina and Trinity Olivera, Megan and Karen Krawczyk were the light of her life and will miss her daily presence sorely. She will be remembered lovingly to her soon to be born grandson, through the lives of his immediate family and Patricia’s dear friends. She was predeceased by her father Dale “Harry” Ellsworth. Her sister Kathleen Sullivan and niece Jennifer (Wagoner) Magner both succumbed to metastatic Ovarian Cancer as she did. She is survived by her mother Dorothy (Evans) Ellsworth, her brother David Ellsworth, sister Jamie Mahala Pacheco, nephew Justin Wagner, and nieces Ariel (Wesley) Sorg, Gabrielle Ellsworth, Anastasia (Christopher) Garis as well as extended family here and around the country.
Patricia was a lifelong Episcopalian, spending much of her time at St. John’s Youngstown and St. Paul’s Lewiston later in life. She was a former member of the Episcopal Community Services Board of Western New York, the original outreach arm of the Episcopal Diocese of Western NY. She delighted in working with children and youth throughout her spiritual life; most notably helping lead a youth mission trip to New Orleans in 2009, and serving as a ‘Mom’ during many of the Happening retreat weekends. Celtic spirituality guided her, recognizing everything you do as prayer and service to God. While she was an Episcopalian by practice, she recognized God at work in all traditions and truly valued the ways in which every culture connected with and recognized God at work in the world.
A memorial service for Patricia’s life will be held at 3 pm on Saturday August 31, 2019 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 400 Ridge St. Lewiston, NY 14092. The church is on the corner of Ridge Street and 4th street, across from the Red Brick School. This will be followed by a reception in the church hall in which all are welcome to share their remembrances of Patricia. Please join her family in celebrating all the good works and memories Patricia brought to our lives.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following charities in honor of Patricia:
Harvest House Baby and Children's Ministry, Good Neighbors Health Care, New Hope Education Center 175 Jefferson Ave. Buffalo, NY, 14210. https://www.harvesthousebuffalo.org/baby-children-s-ministry
Niagara Hospice Inc. for Camp Hope 4675 Sunset Drive Lockport, NY 14094 https://www.niagarahospice.org/donation
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for the Capital Campaign - P.O. Box 354 Lewiston, New York 14092 https://splewiston.org//index.php?page=donate
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” RumiTo send flowers to the family of Patricia Truesdale, please visit Tribute Store